By Andrew Poretz …

Mexican singer and actor Mauricio Martínez has wowed audiences for years, and has been featured in several Theater Pizzazz articles by this writer, including reviews of two 2022 performances in which he appeared with Jaime Lozano at 54 Below (most recently in November 2022). His gorgeous tenor and genuine, warm presence have always been evident. For his new show, the big surprise was seeing just how funny Mauricio is.

Photo courtesy of the artist

The clever premise arises from the modern form of actor’s auditions: the self-tape. The show’s title borrows the introduction Mauricio used for these videos: “Mauricio Martínez. 5’11”, based in New York City.” The performance began with a series of funny self-tape outtakes. Mauricio used the thread of these outtakes and what appeared to be faux self-tapes created for the show to create a narrative. An especially amusing outtake riffs on the Princess Bride declaration by character Inigo Montoya: “My name is Mauricio Martínez. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Mr. Martínez was backed by an excellent band consisting of music director and pianist Brian J. Nash, bassist Sean Murphy, drummer Jeremy Yaddaw, and violinist Eleanor Norton.

Photo courtesy of the artist

The star opened strong with a medley of show tunes that included “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line (which aptly describes the anxieties of the audition process).

Mauricio had a well-coordinated “conversation” with a video of Ana Villafañe as his “Guenevere” in a self-tape for Camelot. (She starred with him in On Your Feet! on Broadway). Mauricio sang a powerful “If Ever I Could Leave You,” after which a slide of the star with a gold crown superimposed on his head, captioned “Camelot,” drew big laughs,

When Mr. Martínez sang “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera, he made the interesting choice to sing it in his native language for his mother, who was watching the livestream. He reached a stunning high note that was goosebump-inducing. Such is this man’s ability to evoke emotion with his passionate delivery that he caused me to tear up during the song – despite my not knowing more than a few words of Spanish.

Mauricio Martinez and Jonathan Hoover

This was the perfect time for some comic relief, provided by a pair of top-shelf guest stars. Mr. Martínez recreated his Man of La Mancha self-tape with his “reader,” the very funny Jonathan Hoover, whose wildly popular Instagram account (@inappropriatepatti) lovingly spoofs Patti LuPone. Together, they performed an uproarious medley of “Man of La Mancha,” “And the Money Kept Rolling In” from Evita” and “Marta” from Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Statuesque drag performer Alexis Michelle appeared from her seat in the audience for a very playful and seductive “I Am Woman, You Are Man” from Funny Girl. In line with the show title, Alexis noted, “I’m six-foot to six-foot seven.”

Mauricio later took it down a few notches with Stephen Sondheim’s “We’ve Got a Good Thing Going,” from Merrily We Roll Along. Jacket off, sitting on a stool and singing with only piano accompaniment, the lovely, spare arrangement was reminiscent of the “saloon song” segments that were a staple of Frank Sinatra’s live shows. (As it happens, this was one of only three Sondheim songs Sinatra ever recorded.)

The star encouraged the audience to get up and dance for his final song, Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” (from Trolls).

After a standing ovation, Mr. Martínez appeared wearing a crown, a callback to the Camelot number, for an encore of “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton.

Mauricio Martínez is one hell of a performer. He has a star quality to match his considerable talents, and a great team. Director Robbie Rozelle did an outstanding job. Mr. Rozelle is also a talented graphic designer. He put together the videos and other visual elements that helped create the story as well as deliver well-timed laughs.

Mauricio Martínez: 5’11”, based in NYC took place on March 5 at 54 Below, 254 West 54th Street, between Eighth Avenue and Broadway (

Featured Image: Courtesy of Stephen Mosher

Other photos by Andrew Poretz, except where indicated